Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Guide to going to the Hospital for new Olim

I really think that I should write a guide to going to the hospital for new immigrants. It is just so completely different than the US, (so is most medical related stuff) that we could really miss out.

A friend, who is a pediatrician, explained that the hospital system here is set up on the belief that your family is going to take care of you at the hospital. This is why Shaarei Tzedek has a "malonit"--mini hotel for families to stay in. The extent to which you need someone there depends on the level of your illness, but things as simple as having a cup for water is just not available. The nurses might tell you that you need to keep your fluids up, but that is completely in your own hands.

Another thing that I discovered from when my daugher was born, is that in that ward, you need to get up and go to the desk to ask for pain medication! They never even suggested it! Maybe that is because I wasn't a first time mother, but somehow I doubt it.

The hospital staff did not:
  • tell us about the mini-hotel for shabbat
  • that meals were available for me and my family in the staff dinning room, and I could pay in advance for Shabbat
  • tell my husband what he could/could not do when he got out of the hospital
But I was able to find out the information by asking the right questions. This can be a trick itself.

I don't fault the hospital for any of this, I realize people are overworked, and there is a shortage of staff, but I would love to find someone who would help me write my pamphlet.

The little things

I'm not an overly sentimental person....I am more of a realist, I don't wake up every morning and thank G-d that I live in Jerusalem, but sometimes events occur that make me weepy/happy to be here.

  • Before Passover there was a gathering at work, I guess in English it would be called a toast to the holiday. All the big wigs got up and said Happy Passover etc, they did a "dvar torah" (sermon) , but to end they gathering, they did a group sing along. Yes, everyone from the lowest level employee (that's me) to the head of the center sang along with a karaoke machine helping us with the words. These weren't religious songs, just very Israel connected songs (in Hebrew of course). It really has an affect on me.
  • Two weeks ago my husband was hospitalized for Appendicitis, and had to stay in the hospital from Wednesday through Sunday. For Shabbat I called up acquaintances, who were Shlichim (emmisaries) to Milwaukee and had recently returned to Israel. They told me they intentionally wanted to live near a hospital in case there were people in need, and I was in need. They invited us to stay over, and eat all meals there, despite the fact that his brother, sister-in-law and five children were also coming. Can you imagine a 4 bedroom apartment housing 5 adults and 10 children??? They were so kind, it was wonderful.
  • Another hospital many hospitals have a "mini-hotel" for families to stay in over Shabbat? The cost of it is only about $20 a night! They also have subsidized meals that you can pre-pay for on Shabbat. (Or not, if you arrive on Shabbat, nobody checks to see if you paid.)
  • This evening I heard shouts from a loudspeaker outside. There was a man selling watermellon from a truck. This is great, because if you don't have a car, it is quite difficult to schlep around watermellons. (I didn't make it in time though, because I'm home alone with the girls this evening)
Well, thats all for now, but in an attempt to actually update this blog more often, I'm going to start working on some themes.. let me know if there is anything I should cover.